Since its beginnings in 1993, there were many high-quality UFC battles. You will rarely see snoozefests like Ngannou vs. Lewis or Esparza vs. Namajunas because the crowd doesn’t approve of technical warfare, tricky moves, and feinting.
The new-era UFC fans mostly boo when the fighters spend too much time in the clinch or on the canvas. The referee has to break fighters up when they are inactive or when they spend too much time without throwing strikes.
Nowadays, around 50-60 percent of fights take place in stand-up (long or mid-range). The sport has changed, the era of standing MMA is getting more and more popular.
Let’s focus on the world of the all-time greatest UFC fights. Octagon Radar believes you’ll enjoy every single second of these eight bouts.
These are the best UFC fights of all-time:
1. Weili Zhang vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk, UFC 248
I know you’re surprised because we are putting the female fight in the first place, but how many times have you seen a bloody and battered war where both fighters left the Octagon with their faces covered in bruises? There was no ground segment of the game at all!
These two fighters move like cats, but back at UFC 248, they were just standing and banging, swinging out on each other.
We’ve seen many five or six-hit combos, and there were a lot of problems for the judges.
Both fighters were rocking each other on their feet, pressing against the fence, but nobody was able to finish the fight with a KO, TKO, or submission.
Finally, Weili Zhang won via a razor-close split decision, and Joanna looked like she has just come out of war one week later in her Instagram video.
Those hematomas looked so nasty! Her face was not purple or red, it was black (no, I am not joking) all around her eyes. Weili ended the bout with tons of cuts and bruises too.
Interestingly, the two met at UFC 275 again, but this time, Weili KO’d the former 115-pound champion with a spinning backfist in the third.
Their second fight was one-sided ass whooping where the first-ever Chinese UFC champ was swinging the hammer.
2. Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald, UFC 189
The two already met at UFC 167, where Lawler won via a controversial split decision and everybody expected a great desire on the end of young gun MacDonald.
As soon as their second clash started, both fighters were delivering the most powerful shots at each other.
Young gun Rory MacDonald wanted to dethrone the reigning defending welterweight king Lawler by any means necessary. There were so many violent exchanges and head rocks, Rory MacDonald’s name is “The Red King” for a reason.
Both fighters were covered in blood in round five, and Rory MacDonald crumbled after one left hand to the nose. It probably happened due to accumulated damage to his face and brain.
Lawler didn’t even unload big ground and pound bombs, he started celebrating right off the bat because “Big” John McCarthy stepped in almost instantly to prevent MacDonald from further punishment.
One of the bloodiest fights in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship!
3. Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry, UFC on Versus 4
This is arguably the best comeback in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but also one of the greatest fights.
Pat Barry dominated and dropped Cheick Kongo on many occasions in this fight, but the outcome of the fight shocked even the diehard fans of “HD”.
Kongo vs. Barry kinda reminded me of the Pride FC fight between Don Frye and Takayama, because the two started trading bombs right off the bat.
Barry switched his stance and dropped Kongo with a big overhand right, then peppered him with some violent ground and pound. Kongo got up, but instantly ate another big right that sent him to the canvas again.
It looked like Pat Barry was teeing Kongo up on the feet but then, a miracle came out of nowhere! Kongo was backpedaling, Barry dropped his hands and ate two big rights to the chin, and ended up out cold on the canvas!
This bout lasted only 2:39, but it is one of the most exciting moments in UFC history!
Further reading: The fastest knockouts in UFC history
4. Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler, UFC 268
Justin Gaethje has always been known as the guy who leaves his heart inside the Octagon, while Michael Chandler came to this fight as a former Bellator champion, fresh off a surprising knockout victory over Dan Hooker.
Gaethje has already had many wars in his career, and the one against Tony Ferguson was stopped because of a doctor’s call. But this time, both Chandler and Gaethje were marching forward and trading big bombs on each other.
There was no backpedaling and retreat in this fight, both Octagon warriors were unloading heavy fists and kicks on each other for three rounds.
In the end, Gaethje came out victorious after a three-round bloody and battered combat!
Gaethje vs. Chandler reminded us of an old-school UFC era when fighters were staying on the central line and trading big powerful shots on each other.
There were no lateral moves or feints, these two were throwing everything they had on each other for 15 minutes!
5. Shane Burgos vs. Billy Quarantillo, UFC 268
Both Billy Q and Shane Burgos are known for marching forward, pressuring, and aggressive approach. When you pair two chinny Octagon warriors ready to trade bombs until the last dying breath, you must get a violent fight!
This fight was entertaining from the beginning to the final second of the fight! Billy Quarantillo rocked Burgos once, while Burgos stunned his opponent on multiple occasions and even took him down, which left a better impression on the judges, who gave unanimous decision nods to Burgos.
We’ve seen a superb number of significant strikes in round 3. These two Octagon warriors were bleeding and slaughtering each other for 15 minutes.
They deserved the Fight of the Night, let’s hope the UFC pairs them again!
6. The Korean Zombie vs. Yair Rodriguez, UFC Fight Night 139
Have you ever seen a fight where the potential winner of the bout gets knocked out by a very unusual move in the dying seconds of round 5? Well, I did, and it happened when The Korean Zombie squared off against Yair Rodriguez at the main event of UFC Fight Night 139.
Chan Sung Jung was dominating the fight, and he was up on the scorecards, but he started to slow down in the championship rounds. Instead of leaving it to the judges, he decided to try to knock out the Mexican Taekwondo black belt and it cost him a lot.
For three rounds, “The Korean Zombie” was winning, and he lost round 4. He tried to pepper Yair with a violent barrage of straight punches, but the Mexican ducked under and crushed the Korean with a brutal reverse upward elbow.
One second was left on the clock, yeah, one second! Rookie mistake by Chan Sung Jung, and one of the best knockouts in history to end one of the greatest UFC slugfests!
7. Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson, UFC 165
Alexander Gustafsson was a massive underdog heading into a title fight against favorite Jon Jones.
Everybody expected easy work for the reigning defending champion, but Gustafsson entered the cage and demolished Jon Jones’ face, even taking him down on one occasion.
Jon Jones used to be known as the one and only guy who countered a kick with a spinning back elbow until then. Yet, the Swedish competitor grabbed Jones’ leg and countered his middle kick with a right spinning strike that left a cut on Jones’ face in round 4!
We’ve seen a technical war and a slugfest, and Gustafsson officially became the guy who gave Jon Jones the toughest fight of his career.
Unfortunately, judges didn’t like Gustafsson’s backpedaling in championship rounds, so Jon Jones won an undeserved unanimous decision. Both fighters left the Octagon with their faces covered in blood.
8. Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos, UFC 239
Thiago Santos is one of the toughest motherfuckers in the history of this sport. He has never been the same after this legendary fight with Jon Jones, the fans of the fastest-growing sport in the world enjoyed every single second of this great five-round scrap.
Both fighters left the Octagon in wheelchairs, and “Marreta” damaged both ACLs, which recovered an immediate surgery days later.
In the first round, Jon Jones checked a kick, and Thiago’s knee buckled. It was clear that he hurt his ACL. We’ve seen his knee buckling three times in this fight.
But only God knows what was inside of Thiago’s head because every normal fighter would be unable to continue. Yet, some insane power of will kept Thiago on the feet for five rounds.
He was constantly pressuring and attacking with his injured, right leg. Then he hurt another leg, but refused to stop, and continue peppering the 205-pound champ with violent barrages of fists and elbows.
Santos was unable to move laterally, but that didn’t stop him from giving fans one of the best fights the world has ever seen! Unfortunately, judges gave a split nod to Jones, what a war this was!
There were many top-notch UFC fights, but we worked hard to choose the best ones for our list! Did you like our choice of the all-time greatest UFC fights?